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Guidance for undergraduates

As a student you need to know what primary material is available to access before you put together your research proposal.

There are a few things that you can do before you contact us:

  • select a subject and chose a topic for which there are gaps in the research
  • discuss the subject with your tutor to assess that it is appropriate
  • check online catalogues


If a research project is restricted to a geographical area don’t forget to check other repositories that may be relevant to the research.

Documents before 1733 may be more challenging to read as the official language used in them was Latin. Also, there were different styles of handwriting.

We have reference books available to help with Latin and palaeography problems.

Contacting us

Once you have decided on a topic, contact us by email for advice and a more comprehensive search based on the research subject or related keywords.

Any list of our holdings that we produce may contain some dissertations that we hold. However, you’ll need to check databases and lists recommended by your university for a complete list.

Starting your research

Check all of our catalogues and indexes. Not all are electronic. We still have old index cards and some lists in printed form only. Do ask staff for advice.

Follow our instructions about how to use the finding aids and where they are located in the building.


Documents held by us should be cited as follows: SA plus the reference number eg SA 112/4/3. The citation method used for the dissertation may require further information such as a collection name.